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Renovating a kitchen comes at a cost, but guidance during the decision-making process can ensure you don’t overspend. Smart choices when it comes to cabinetry and countertops can leave you wiggle room for the more costly items that really elevate the aesthetic. Working with Merrill Construction Group means you have a helping hand every step of the way — from determining your budget to finally deciding on a paint color. “We start by getting to know each other because we really want to understand the scope of your project, hear your ideas, and make that vision a reality,” says Merrill Construction Group in-house designer Morgan Brubaker. Morgan, along with designer Alex Morgan, helps us understand how specific selections can raise or lower the amount of money you put into your kitchen. It’s important to remember that no two projects are alike, and when embarking on a remodeling project, the renovation of one room may affect another, which could cause costs to increase. Thankfully, Merrill Construction can help you through this process.

Their first piece of advice: decide what is important to you. If you desire custom cabinetry with spice racks and pull-out drawers, budget accordingly. If you care deeply about the appliances, start there. Another piece of advice: focus on functionality before aesthetics. Together with the Merrill team, you can determine a budget before you rip out that first piece of dated tile. Then, they will stay by your side from start to finish — helping put ideas on paper, making selections and overseeing the entire project for a smoother, stress-free experience. Today, Alex and Morgan walk us through three beautiful kitchens — for three different budgets.


  • What is a low budget? $60,000-$70,000
  • Where to splurge: finishes
  • Where to save: cabinetry 

When renovating on a budget, make functionality a priority and focus on affordable upgrades that pack a punch. Retaining the original footprint of your space is key in keeping the project low-cost because structural changes equal more dollar signs. One way to save is to reuse your existing appliances much like these clients in order to spend more on the overall aesthetic. Here, the designers decided to open this once-cramped space to create a better flow (without removing any walls). Another simple way to stretch your dollars? Ready-made cabinets. “Limited modifications are possible with ready-made cabinets, but you can still do a lot of interesting things,” Morgan explains. The rich navy hue that coats the cabinets adds a touch of luxury to the home, and it just so happens to be Sherwin-Williams 2020 Color of the Year. Brass finishes were a splurge — but a wise one. Morgan says, “Finishes can easily upgrade a space. For example, many clients gravitate towards brass finishes, even if they are on a budget because they are willing to splurge to get that extra oomph.”

The contrast between the navy and brass, plus the simple white quartz countertops and subway tile backsplash, makes this kitchen look like a million bucks!

Kitchen Renovation — low budget

In-house designers Morgan Brubaker and Alex Morgan see clients navigating towards brass finishes as a splurge item in low-budget kitchens. In our opinion, the decision here paid off. To save a few dollars, the homeowners reused many of their old appliances. Image: Ruby & Peach

Kitchen Renovation — low budget

Ready-made, shaker-style cabinets elevate the aesthetics of this kitchen. A hidden pantry sits behind the fridge to offer additional storage. Image: Ruby & Peach

Kitchen Renovation — low budget

Quartz is the material most often chosen for Merrill Construction kitchens. The material is durable and available at various price points. The simplicity of these countertops works nicely with the brass pulls, plumbing fixtures and pendants. Image: Ruby and Peach


  • What is a mid-range budget? $100,000-$150,000
  • Where to splurge: cabinetry 
  • Where to save: backsplash 

As your budget increases, so do your opportunities for custom designs. Here, semi-custom cabinets are the focal point of the space, and a triple stack crown was integrated to accentuate the ceiling height and create a seamless transition from the cabinets to the ceiling (without splurging for more cabinetry). The look is luxe, but not extremely pricey. Higher-end appliances, a custom stove and plumbing fixtures were big-ticket items; the backsplash, a subway tile in a herringbone pattern, is not your run-of-the-mill design, but it still comes at a friendly price point. According to the designers, the heart pinewood flooring is the most interesting feature of the design. “It was important to the homeowners for the flooring to be used throughout the entire house, and we wanted the cabinetry to speak for itself while highlighting the floors with a stark contrast,” says Alex.

Kitchen Renovation — medium budget

Again, brass finishes and hardware deliver a luxe look. Plus, black granite countertops are a more intriguing option than basic white. White was a smart choice for the cabinets that look fully custom but cost less. Another money saver is keeping the fridge exposed; be sure to integrate it into the cabinetry for a clean look if you go this route. Image: Paige Rumore Photography

Kitchen Renovation — medium budget

Subway tile is a wallet-friendly option found in many low to mid-range budget kitchens. Here, the tile was placed in a herringbone pattern, so it has a custom look and feel. Image: Paige Rumore Photography


  • What is a high budget? The sky’s the limit! 
  • Where to splurge: custom design  
  • Where to save: Hopefully, you don’t have to hold back.

High-end kitchens have a few things in common: custom cabinetry, top-of-the-line appliances, custom countertops, oversized islands and customized backsplash. In addition to those key components, this kitchen also features pillow-edge, custom-made door frames, paneled appliances, custom coffered ceilings and stained hardwood floors. “A lot of detail went into this kitchen because we had the budget to allow for it,” explains Morgan. “In high-end kitchens, you are typically able to do whatever you want, so custom cabinetry and finishes are big selling points.” Designed to hold parties, the kitchen centers around an island with a custom two-inch-thick stone slab countertop. The rest of the kitchen is outfitted with a durable quartz countertop, a higher-end material that ranges in price point — the more complex the colorways and veining, the more expensive.

Kitchen Renovation — high budget

A sitting area and fireplace live within the kitchen to allow for more space to entertain. The feel of this kitchen is traditional meets French Country. Win, win. Image: Paige Rumore Photography

Kitchen Renovation — high budget

Custom backsplash is a hallmark of high-dollar design. Here, a muted green glass backsplash was installed (not an easy process, according to the designers). Image: Paige Rumore Photography

Kitchen Renovation — high budget

Ceiling-height cabinets — often with glass fronts — are typical in high-end kitchens. Many of the appliances, including a Sub-Zero double-door fridge, are hidden behind cabinetry panels. When designing the kitchen of your dreams, don’t overlook functionality. Appliances are the most used items and should not be overlooked! Image: Paige Rumore Photography

Kitchen Renovation — high budget

A small bar completes the kitchen, and it was a must for the homeowners to entertain properly.

Your dream kitchen awaits! Visit merrillconstructiongroup.com to learn more about how they can help make your dream a reality, whatever your budget.

This article is sponsored by Merrill Construction Group. 

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